Whether you’re after culture or relaxation, luxury or local, Thailand offers it all.
From ruined cities, ancient monasteries, Buddhist monks, Elephant hills, floating markets, moonlit beach parties, golden beaches or pristine coral reefs, Thailand offers something for everyone at excellent value for money.
Where to visit and when:
The rainy season in Thailand really varies from region to region, making it the perfect year round destination. I visited Phuket in June and we stayed in Karon Beach. We chose here because it has enough restaurants to eat somewhere different every night, it wasn’t buzzing with nightlife but Patong (which is) was easily accessible. Kata is the next resort along and offers beautiful beaches. We walked from Karon to Kata and then got a Tuk Tuk back.
Self-catering or all inclusive?:
I would definitely recommend a B&B option over all-inclusive. Why? Because the food is incredible, restaurants in abundance and the cost of living is extremely cheap. We were eating in resort restaurants at around £6-£10pp for large meals. If you hire a car or motorbike and go off the beaten track you can eat a good restaurant meal for around £3pp. My favourite dish was a Thai red curry, although some of the best food we tried was the street food at the night markets. A big tray full of food, BBQ style was around £1pp Just outside of our hotel was a man making different flavour crepes every night. We never ordered dessert as at 50 pence a crepe we indulged every night on our walk back to the hotel.
Not only are the local Tuk Tuks extremely good fun, they are super cheap. The Thai people are always parked on the side roads waiting for their next tourist to jump in so they are very easy to come by and will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go, so getting from resort to resort is easy.
Where to stay:
We stayed at the Centara Karon Beach Resort and Spa. With a children’s club and separate pool with water slides this is a great choice for families. A separate pool with swim up bar also makes it great for couples and the location is perfect. 5 minutes from the beach and right in the middle of the resort centre.
Phi Phi Island. I can only describe it as paradise on Earth. You can reach them by speed boat for adventure or a condor style boat for relaxation. The landscapes of Maya Bay are phenomenal, and it is where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed some of ‘The Beach’. You enjoy lunch, swimming and snorkelling for a perfect beach day away from the tourist resorts
An incredible evening show in the palace of elephants’ theatre. A spell binding, Las Vegas style, acrobatic, theatrical show. But before this, get there early for the festival village shopping street, the tiger jungle adventure and the amazing restaurants all included in the evening. The elephants are also waiting to greet you as you enter the show. You can feed and interact with them which is a must do whilst here.
Upgrading our room to a pool cabana room was definitely a highlight. With the private Jacuzzi out on our terrace, we looked forward to coming back for a quick dip every night.
Thai massage: Whilst we stayed in a spa hotel, it’s far cheaper to have a massage in the resort. We had a spa day with a facial, manicure and pedicure and it only cost around £30.00
Places to consider:
Bangkok. A bustling city and the only place to experience a floating market and a trip on the river Kwai.
From Phuket you can get a local bus to Khoa Sok where you can experience a few days in Elephant hills. A luxury tent camp experience in the elephant nature park. From families, couples or honeymooners, Elephant hills has an experience for everyone.
Chiang Mai offers everything from national parks for nature lovers and Buddhist temples for culture vultures. Soul seekers can experience a mindfulness morning where you can mingle with monks and find out about their way of living.